Photo : © Jean Philippe Jubera

From the Adour to the Nive

A colour palette : that is your first impression when visiting the towns of Mouguerre, Lahonce, Saint-Pierre d'Irube and Villefranque. Located in the suburbs of Bayonne, they exude easy-living of the countryside and bear the stamp of Labourdine villages with their half-timbered houses. From Les Barthes, or wetlands, of the Rivers Adour and Nive to the fern-covered hills of the Basque mountains and the Atlantic Ocean on the horizon, we are in a multi-faceted, polychrome environment.

Villages at the gates of Bayonne

Photo : © Mairie Mouguerre

We find traces of the village parish from the Middle Ages but the name Mouguerre appeared for the first time in 1556 in the form of Mouguerro. This comes from the Basque word muga, “the border” because Mouguerre was the linguistic and administrative limit of Gascon territories.

This village, located at the gates of Bayonne, has very varied landscapes : the barthes (agricultural wetlands) on the banks of the River Adour, the vale, characteristic of Basque villages, in the village centre and the Elizaberri quarter heading towards Hasparren. The port district, which developed in the 1950s and 1960s thanks to industrial activity, contrasts with the rest.

Stroll through Mouguerre village between the church and the Cross of Mouguerre to admire the beautiful Labourdine houses and its church. This walk also enables you to appreciate the magnificent panorama over the Basque coast and the mountain ranges stretching from Jaizkibel in Gipuzkoa to the peak of Mount Orhi in the Soule region.





Photo : © OT Adour

The village of Lahonce developed around its abbey. This 12th century Romanesque building, established by Premonstratensian religious order, is at the origins of evangelization in the Basque language.

The village, located on the heights of the River Adour, has a marina with a sailing club and a water-skiing school, which is open all year round.

The village is pleasantly landscaped; a short walk will take you to an orientation table which tells you about the surrounding landscape. A walk from the small lake of Arbéou will then take you along paths planted with poplars in the middle of the wetlands.



Saint-Pierre d'Irube

Photo : © OT Adour

The original name of this village was Iruber, later transformed into Hiriburu from a legend ... Around 1400, it was said that Sugulna, a three-headed dragon who came out of the flanks of Mount Rhune to terrorize the inhabitants, had settled near the Lissague fountain in Saint-Pierre d'Irube before being slain by a young, 20-year-old knight during a bloody fight in which both lost their lives ... The village took its name from Hiruburu (“three heads” in Basque), then from Hiriburu, its current name in Basque.

Go and see the dragon fountain on the banks of the Nive by taking the Lissague walk that overlooks the Hillans wetlands. The village still has magnificent 17th and 18th century houses which have seen little change. With direct access to Bayonne, Saint-Pierre d'Irube is a small town with a very vibrant associative community; the La Perle auditorium offers a varied cultural program all year round.


Photo : © OT ADour

Like Mouguerre and Lahonce, the town of Villefranque is located on the heights, stretching along to the River Nive.

This old river port was located in the Sainte Marie district and scows (flat-bottomed barges) could dock there. The old towpath for goods has been converted into a green route from Bayonne to Ustaritz, the ideal place to enjoy family walks or on anything that can be ridden that doesn’t have a motor! Like Mouguerre, Briscous and Urcuit, Villefranque has salt beds from marine deposits that are several million years old. Until the beginning of the 20th century, they used to extract coarse salt here to preserve food and salt ham; this salt was brought along the River Nive to be transported by boat to Bayonne.

Berripaperan harpide

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